Entergy not penalized for falsified inspections
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will not cite Entergy Corps after an investigation revealed records had been doctored to falsely state fire inspections had been done at Waterford 3 in Killona.
The NRC accepted Entergy’s corrective plan for the nuclear plant, which calls for reviewing fire watch programs and improving training sessions in lieu of issuing a notice of violation or civil penalty to the company.
“In light of significant corrective actions Entergy has taken, the NRC has not issued a notice of violation or a civil penalty,” states an NRC release dated April 8.
Following a 15-month investigation conducted Feb. 3, 2014 to May 19, 2014, NRC inspectors reported records had been falsified at least 10 months. Entergy identified the company that provided the fire watch workers as GCA Contractors.
“Although we cannot comment in-depth on personnel matters, we can say the contractors involved in this issue are no longer employed with Entergy,” company spokeswoman Leanna Weaver said on Monday. “In addition, we’ve further enhanced our procedures to strengthen our fire water oversight and GCA no longer serves as contractors for fire watches.”
Weaver confirmed the energy company does not anticipate violations on this issue.
“Entergy does not tolerate improper reporting or disregard of our protocols,” she said. “It should be noted that Entergy identified the initial issue, reported it to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and immediately made corrective actions.”
In December,Entergy asked NRC for mediation to address the agency’s inspection report, which brought in a neutral third party to aid the agency toward resolving differences regarding a potential enforcement action.
The company’s plan includes a “complete fleet-wide review of its fire watch programs over the past five years; establish a corporate lead for oversight of the company’s fire watch programs; and improve training programs according to timelines established” in the NRC order.
Based on investigation findings, seven contract workers falsified records on multiple occasions between July 2013 and April 2014 to state fire workers had performed fire inspections they never conducted.
“In addition, an Entergy supervisor willfully failed to identify and take correction actions when provided with information of suspected wrongdoing by contract fire watch personnel,” according to the NRC. “A contractor manager also willfully provided incomplete and inaccurate information to a plant officer investigating the trustworthiness and reliability of a contract worker who performed fire watches.”
The federal agency requires tours of specific plant areas on a regular basis to ensure fires don’t occur in areas that could damage vital plant equipment. Logs of those inspections and any adverse conditions are also required.
Then and now, Weaver said Entergy Nuclear “does not tolerate this form of behavior among employees or contractors in any way, and we have robust systems and processes in place to prevent and uncover inaccuracies, whether intentional or not, in documentation.” She added, Weaver said Entergy Nuclear was acting on the violations.
According to an NRC letter dated Dec. 14 to Michael Chisum, site vice president of Entergy Operations in Killona, the investigation found Entergy’s contract workers who do the inspections and an Entergy Operations supervisor “deliberately failed to identify and take corrective actions upon being provided with information of suspected wrongdoing by contract fire watch individuals.”
The NRC also found documentation showing a contract worker admitted to sleeping instead of performing an inspection, but records showed it had been done.